Message from the Principal

Dear Parents, Friends and Caregivers,

We have just begun Term 3 2017 and there is lots to report. I do hope each of our families enjoyed time with their loved ones and a break from the routine of school – day girls and boarders alike!

During our Winter Break, we had a few significant events: our Red Earth Immersion Program, numerous Sacred Heart Exchange students from the northern hemisphere enjoying a Brisbane winter and Rowing Camps in preparation for our Regatta season.

Considerable maintenance work was completed during the students’ and teachers’ school holidays. Our community will have noticed additional carparks, particularly on our front driveway. Enormous maintenance was required to repair and to replace three quarters of The Nest’s roof, which was affected by termite damage, in our heritage building. We have also implemented a drastic proactive process to prevent further infestations. Unfortunately, this has meant we had to remove some lovely climbing plants from the exterior of the building. Unfortunate aesthetically, absolutely essential for preventative practice.

On our Red Earth Immersion Program, twenty-three students from Brigidine College and Stuartholme School, travelled to Far North Queensland where they gained valuable first-hand experience of indigenous culture and community.  The girls were privileged to meet elders and their families at the different communities and had the opportunity to share stories.  We laughed heartedly, built strong relationships and made connections with the people and the Land that will last forever.  It was a life-changing experience.

Our Sacred Heart tradition of international exchanges for students was well received. Fourteen international Sacred Heart students from United States, Canada, France and Spain have been welcomed into our students’ homes and hearts. I had a wonderful chat with the girls to ask what is similar to their education system and schools and what they find different. Our biggest difference is vegemite. Our endearing Australian quality was our friendly approachable ways and Stuartholme is a happy place. Our hosts are looking forward to the reciprocal arrangement when they visit their northern hemisphere Sacred Heart ‘sisters’ in our summer break.

During the holidays, our Rowers and their parents committed to arduous training camps in preparation for the Regatta season. Last Saturday, Stuartholme hosted the first Girls’ School Rowing Regatta for 2017 at Wyaralong. The generosity and energy of the Rowing parents was overwhelming as they had a huge range of gourmet options for spectators and participants – the best steak burger I’ve had in years! The new venue provided superb conditions on the water, yet some logistic challenges on land, which our Stuartholme community embraced with a smile and undaunted energy. As a result of the Stuartholme spirit, we had a very successful day and raised a fabulous amount of money for our Rowing Program. We had 16 crews/scullers finish in the top 3, with 7 crews/scullers finishing outside of the top 3, six (6) first places, five (5) second places and five (5) third places.

Another area of success last weekend was with our Equestrian Team. Stuartholme won Interschool State Champions Eventing/ Show Jumping, Reserve Champions Combined Training, Overall 3rd in Dressage and were named Winners of The Loretta Wigan Champion School Trophy 2017. Well done everyone!

Our Music Day last Friday was a great achievement. Thank you to Andrew Mear and his team of music tutors. A complex day of rehearsals was scheduled in preparation for the Queensland Catholic Music Festival. We usually have a Music Camp over a Friday and a weekend, however, this has clashed with our Winter Sporting programs. So Andrew and our Music teachers found a compromise which allowed quality rehearsal time to continue and also enabling students to maintain their commitment to their sports obligations as well. I was so impressed with their efforts, their attention to detail and the concentration of our musicians and their dedicated teachers/tutors.

At our Friday Assembly we also acknowledged NAIDOC Day where Sr Rita Carroll rscJ presented a Bible written in an indigenous language. Our indigenous students spoke in their own languages. We celebrated the fact that in the last twenty years many indigenous languages have been able to be acknowledged, saved and re-invigorated in our current context. I shared a story of how in 1993 I brought a team of indigenous boys to Brisbane from Far North Queensland communities, who could speak indigenous languages, and could dance and sing their traditional rituals. In 1993 these boys were greatly honoured by their Brisbane counterparts as they were seen as a novelty or as rare. Serendipitously, I met with James Fa’Aoso, one of those indigenous boys from 1993, on Friday afternoon. James is an organisational leader with Cape York Institute, providing opportunities for isolated indigenous students to access quality education – I am so proud of him and now honoured to work along-side him.

We have had a wonderful start to Semester 2, Term 3. Lots to celebrate. Lots to do. Exciting times at Stuartholme.

God bless and take care,

Kristen Sharpe